On Thursday, September 13th, Wesleyan invited Anthony Fantano, “the Internet’s busiest music nerd,” to inaugurate this year’s WESU Lecture Series. Nearly a hundred students and area music nerds crowded into CFA Hall to hear the prolific music review vlogger speak about “what I do, how I do it, how I started, why I do it, and who is Cal.” Catch the lecture and subsequent Q + A session in three YouTube vids: here, here, and here.
Fantano was frank about his rise to “semi-successful” vloggery: he admitted to being shocked that he can nearly make a living as an Internet music reviewer—his syndicated podcast The Needle Drop not being a source of revenue, although it is how he initially got into this line of work (and you can hear his show on WESU 88.1 every Wednesday at 5:05-6:00 pm). He explained to the audience that he primarily gets $ from hosting advertisements on his website and YouTube channel.
But this is now, and it’s been a trip for Fantano. Back in the day, he was a music director for WSIN, Southern Connecticut State University’s radio station. Then he was its GM. Then he moved to WNPR in Hartford and had a music show. Then he started doing on-air music reviews, interspersing full album airplay with commentary. Then he got encouraged to throw his album promos (not fully formed reviews) up on the Internet. Then he got a blog. Then he may or may not have pioneered the music review vlog. Then he got 100 subscribers. Then he got a YouTube channel. Now he has over 85,000 subscribers. Ain’t that the American Dream?
Fantano emphasized that “honesty, honesty, honesty” is the best policy when reviewing music. He acknowledged that he tends to get more hits when he gives negative reviews, but that’s beside his point. He recalled the first exposure he got to music beyond his limited (read: nu-metal) collection and how important it was to him as a music lover. To him, that’s more or less his motivation as a music reviewer: turning people on to the music that he is passionate about.
Hear Fantano touch on his other passion, working at a pizzeria; the importance of concerts in the digital age (and a nostalgia trip down Connecticut metal-core memory lane); and how to stay relevant in a blogosphere dominated by “Gorilla Bears” pt. 1, pt. 2, and pt. 3.
Many thanks to Adam Wechsler ’13 and WESU for organizing the lecture! Here are the other clips: